Former Rio governor says he paid bribes to host 2016 Olympics

Massive construction projects for the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics offered huge opportunities for graft in Latin America's largest nation.
Massive construction projects for the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics offered huge opportunities for graft in Latin America's largest nation.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (BLOOMBERG) - Rio de Janeiro's jailed former governor Sergio Cabral testified that he paid US$2 million (S$2.7 million) in bribes to secure hosting rights for the 2016 Olympics, according to his lawyer, Mr Marcio Delambert.

Cabral told a judge on Thursday (July 4) the payment yielded a promise that between six and nine members of the International Olympic Committee would cast their votes for Rio, Mr Delambert said in an e-mail, confirming earlier reports from local media.

Massive construction projects for the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics offered huge opportunities for graft in Latin America's largest nation.

The subsequent corruption revelations have toppled politicians and executives once thought untouchable, and affected companies' overseas operations.

Ongoing probes have also hurt the recovery of Brazil's construction sector that's contracted for four straight years, dragging on overall activity.

Cabral told the judge that Lamine Diack, former chief of the International Association of Athletics Federations, and his son Papa requested payments of US$1.5 million and US$500,000, respectively.

The lawyer for the elder Diack, William Bourdon, did not respond to a request for comment. His son, who has previously described the corruption allegations as "the biggest lie in the history of world sport", was not immediately reachable.

French authorities ordered both men to stand trial last month on charges of corruption and money laundering. They previously shared information from their investigation with Brazilian prosecutors, who presented evidence that the men, as well as Cabral, participated in the US$2 million scheme.

Cabral is currently serving a sentence of just under 200 years imprisonment for corruption and money laundering.